Sudbury

Patch4Patch program coming to Sudbury to prevent Fentanyl abuse

Sudbury will soon be part of a network that is fighting the abuse of a powerful prescription narcotic patch. Police say Fentanyl patches have become the most abused drug in the city, and the one they seize the most often in drug raids.

Sudbury joins other area communities in an attempt to manage the drug problem

This is the form that people in Sudbury who use Fentanyl will fill out when they return their used patches to the pharmacy.

Sudbury will soon be part of a network that is fighting the abuse of a powerful prescription narcotic patch.

Police say Fentanyl patches have become the most abused drug in the city, and the one they seize the most often in drug raids.

Sgt. Steve Train said police might recover anywhere from a piece of a patch to forty or fifty at a time.

He said what makes them dangerous is that a patient may use the patch for pain control but require a new one before all of the drug is used up.

Addicts take the old patches with residual drug in it and extract the opiate in a number of ways, including chewing or smoking them, according to police.

"Myself and the police service specifically, the drug unit, have seen a rapid increase in the use of Fentanyl and addiction," said Train. "So we've dealt with users, and abusers, and those who deal in Fentanyl for profit."

With the Patch4Patch program, pharmacists will need the old patch in order to hand out a new one and that will cut down on the leftover patches getting into the wrong hands.

As of June 1st, Sudbury will join North Bay, Espanola, Manitoulin Island and Sault Ste. Marie, and dramatically increase the geographic coverage of the program.

Dr. David Marsh is an addiction medicine physician at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine who said there is no research on the effectiveness of the program, but it will likely curb the misuse of the drug.

However, he said other drugs will replace Fentanyl as Canadians in general get access to more painkillers.

"Overall, opioid dependence in Canada has been increasing, as over the last twenty years, the number of opiates prescribed has been increasing," said Marsh.

"Canada is now the leading country in the world in the quantity of opiates that we consumer on a per capita basis, and that figure has gone up tenfold compared to twenty years ago," he said.

Where there are more opiates being used, said Marsh, the proportion that is misused will also grow.

"So the amount of opiates available has dramatically increased and that means that the small portion that gets misused becomes a much larger and larger amount," explained the doctor.

"Programs like this can certainly help reduce the risk that Fentanyl will be misused. I'm not sure it will reduce the total number of people who are misusing opiates."

Both Dr. Marsh and Sgt. Train agree that enforcement is part of a strategy to cut down on drugs in the community, with the other parts being community support and treatment options.

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